Manucho savours Nations Cup limelight

As names go Mateus Alberto Contreiras Gonçalves is a bit of a mouthful, so he’s better known as Manucho.

Angola’s go to guy is heading for his fourth successive African Cup of Nations finals and it’s a tournament that has seen a fair degree of success for the Angolan and had a major impact on his career.

It was at the tournament in Ghana in 2008 that he was spotted by Manchester United scouts, who signed him immediately as his goals propelled Angola to the quarter-finals.

Manucho’s 2008 highlights included the opening goal in their first game against South Africa, and a further two goals in their second match against Senegal in a 3–1 win. In the quarter finals Manucho scored Angola's only goal in a 2–1 loss to Egypt. At the end of the tournament, he’d been included in the Best XI.
 
He was a little more subdued in the 2010 African Cup of Nations when he only scored from the penalty spot in the opening game for Angola in the 4–4 draw with Mali.
 
In the 2012 African Cup of Nations he scored a screamer against Burkina Faso and after the match he said in an Interview he would love to play in England again in the premiership or the championship. In Angola next match of 2012 African Cup Of Nation, Manucho scored a brace in a 2–2 draw against Sudan, giving Sudan their first point of Africa Cup of Nations in 36 years.[25] In Angola's next match against Ivory Coast, Manucho couldn't save the team to go to the Quarter Final of African Cup Of Nations as Ivory Coast beat Angola 2–0.

Manucho has been a bit of a wanderer in Europe. Unable to initially gain a work permut with Manchester United, he went first to Panathinaikos on loan, before being grsnted his permit. Opportunities though were thin on the ground and he went to then Premiership team Hull City on loan before joining Real Valladolid in July 2009.

Manucho has had two more loan spells with Bucaspor and Manisapor in Turkey

His current form though has got Angolans purring.

Angolan coach Ferrin told a press conference ahead of a warm-up game against Gambia: “Manucho has the potential to be a positive influence in the squad. I’m in constant contact with him and delighted with what he has achieved.”

Following last Saturday's Spanish league game, in which Manucho scored two goals, the attention of football aficionados focussed on the national squad striker.
 
Beto Carmelino, a former player of Angola's Nacional de Benguela, 1º de Maio and Atlético Sport Aviação (ASA), said this current stage should be used by Manucho to get tuned up, because goals will be decisive in the continental competition, scheduled for January to February 2013.
 
"The country gains when its people are well. So with this current shape he will be able to help the national team and if he is well backed by his colleagues he will go far (...)", Beto Carmelino explained.
 
According to him, the 29-year old Valladolid striker has gained the European competitive level, stressing that "he is with a high physical and sports condition", adding that Manucho has potential and experience.

Angola have been drawn in Group A at the Nations Cup alongside the South African hosts, the Cape Verde Islands and Morocco.

 

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